The use of computerised personnel information systems by human resource specialists in the public sector
This thesis examines the development of human resource management in three UK public sectors local government, the health service and higher education. The focus of the study is the problem of the lack of use of computerised personnel information systems by personnel specialists to develop the human resource management function. The literature of strategic management, human resource management and the fit between them are reviewed together with the history and the development of personnel systems in the UK. Senior personnel practitioners and their organisations in the three sectors were evaluated with respect to the stage of development of organisational planning and the contribution made by personnel practitioners using questionnaires, and in-depth interviews. The backgrounds and management styles of the practitioners were examined in order to evaluate their perceptions of: human resource management, computer systems and organisational planning. The degree to which practitioners made use of their computerised information systems for administrative and strategic purposes and the problems they perceived were evaluated in order to judge their degree of evolution from 'traditional personnel practice' to 'human resource management'. The research findings indicated that, although there were are number of significant differences between the three sectors studied, these had little effect when considering the broad issues embedded in the six hypotheses. The evaluation of these hypotheses indicated that the practitioners were making substantial use of their systems for administrative but not for strategic purposes. The number of perceived forces discouraging use and development of computerised personnel information systems was found to outnumber the perceived encouraging forces and were aggregated into a forcefield diagram. Furthermore it was shown that most practitioners had not yet evolved into proactive human resource managers. Suggestions for 'best practice' with respect to choice, use and development of CPIS are provided.